Speech by President Paul Kagame at the
opening of the Second Rwanda Investment Conference in Kigali,
May 13, 2004
This is an opportunity to outline to you the investment opportunities
that Rwanda can offer. What I want to share with you today
is a mood of optimism in our country, and, I trust, a sense
|INVESTMENT: President Paul Kagame opens the
new, magnificent Intercontinental Hotel in Kigali.
We all know that industry and commerce can only flourish
in a predictable and conducive environment.
We all know that investments are attracted by the promise
of growth. How we measure up in meeting these expectations
defines the wellspring of our optimism and confidence in the
future. Over the last decade, we have worked hard to ensure
progress on many fronts.
For example, we have endeavoured to build democratic institutions
and to remove injustices and inequities that previously existed
in Rwanda. Similarly, economic growth has replaced decline
and stagnation, previously associated with our country.
As a result, Rwanda is now one of those countries on the
continent of Africa making significant economic progress,
judging from our recent performance in that area.
Investments and private sector development are no longer
issues we take for granted. We recognise them as the real
engines of growth and we are pursuing their realisation with
determination and focus.
That is why we have put in place the necessary legislative
and institutional mechanisms to promote investments into our
Today, our public and private sectors are working together
in a genuine partnership as we collectively endeavour to define
our country’s economic development agenda.
As a result, we are making our country a predictable and
attractive investment location. This is particularly evident
in a number of areas:
Transparency and accountability, important for sound economic
activity, have replaced the monopoly of opportunity and free-wheel
dealing, which characterised our country before 1994.
You will also notice that good governance and low levels
of corruption are taking root. Rwandan people are no longer
the object of exploitation and abuse by those in power.
We know that they are the most important resource we have.
Therefore, the protection of their rights has become the essence
of our leadership.
We are encouraging the Rwandan people, not only to work hard,
but also to work smart. In view of that, we are investing
in the education of our young so that they may become the
instruments of our country’s socio-economic development.
The security of investments as well as property rights, are
enshrined in our laws and international protocols to which
we are a signatory.
Our commitment to safeguarding these rights is firm. Equally
firm is our belief in safeguarding individual security. It
should not be surprising, therefore, that crime levels are
low in our land. Our Capital, Kigali, is just as safe as anywhere
else you can think of.
We continue to pursue the objectives of securing regional
peace and stability, in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Significant progress has been made on this score and we intend
to continue building on present gains.
However, we do not dwell on the gains of the moment, lest
we lose sight of the future. Indeed, and in line with this
imperative, my Government has a vision of the future in the
form of Vision 2020.
This vision rests on six pillars, namely:
1. The reconstruction of the nation and its social capital;
2. The development of a credible and efficient state governed
by the rule of law;
3. Human resource development in line with our objective of
turning Rwanda into a prosperous knowledge-based economy;
4. Development of basic infrastructure, including urban planning;
5. Development of entrepreneurship and the private sector,
6. Modernisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.
The cross-cutting domains of Vision 2020 include issues of
gender equality; natural resources and environmental protection;
science and technology as well as regional and international
Achievement of our long-term vision, however, requires urgent
action in the short to medium-term.
In the medium-term, several things must happen, and they include
- Ensure secure macro-economic stability;
- Maintain peace and stability;
- Expand economic activity through foreign direct investments,
especially in value addition of economic activities;
- Remove current obstacles and constraints to traditional
exports by increasing enterprise access to finance; improving
commercial infrastructure and investing in productivity
- q Invest in the expansion and diversification of our export
base to tap the potential of new products like horticulture,
pyrethrum, handicrafts and leather products;
- Establish a free trade and export-processing zone so as
to quickly expand export activity ahead of the development
of a genuinely competitive industrial capacity, which has
a much longer lead-time;
- Promote greater flow of up-market tourists into Rwanda
as an easier source of foreign exchange, and
- Continue to build strong and strategic industry partnerships
with developed economies.
We are convinced about the direction we are taking, and what
needs to be done.
Most importantly, we understand that we have to be creative
and innovative as we go along, so as to meet the challenges
of the global trading conditions. The role of private enterprise
and capital is central in this journey.
Rwanda is a strong advocate of the NEPAD initiative, whose
aim is greater ownership of our future as a continent, and
This decade, a new impetus for change, economic change, driven
by private enterprise and capital, supported by good political
choices, is visible across our continent. This is clearly
the case in Rwanda.
I am sure that organisers of this conference will sketch
for you details of the Rwandan investment proposition.
I encourage you to consider these carefully and make the right
For those of you who find an investment opportunity they
wish to pursue, you can count on my Government for full support.
Our wish is that your efforts translate into real wealth for
your benefit and that of our country...
- President: Paul Kagame
- Prime Minister: Bernard Makuza
- Foreign Minister: Charles Murigande
- Finance Minister: Dr Donald Kaberuka
- Area: 26,334 sq km
- Population: 8.4 million (UN, 2003)
- Capital: Kigali
- Major languages: Kinyarwanda (official), French (official),
English (official), Swahili.
- Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
- Life expectancy: 39 years (men), 40 years (women).
- Monetary unit:
1 USD = 563 francs
- Main exports: Coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
- GNI per capita: US $230 (World Bank, 2002)
- Internet domain: .rw
- International dialling code: +250
- Calling from Uganda: +0037